The for­mer head of Europe’s big­gest bank and a for­mer Tory trade min­is­ter is ‘ashamed’ of how the UK has treated Ire­land on Brexit talks.

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Pádraig Hoare

The for­mer head of Europe’s big­gest bank and a for­mer Tory trade min­is­ter has said he is “ashamed” of how the UK has treated Ire­land on Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Stephen Green, who was the chief ex­ec­u­tive of HSBC Bank and for­mer min­is­ter of state for trade and in­vest­ment in the Con­ser­va­tiveLib­eral Demo­crat Coali­tion, was the first guest speaker at the Au­tumn Lec­ture se­ries of Lim­er­ick Civic Trust.

The event at St Mary’s Cathe­dral, which in­cluded the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner asa spon­sor, heard Mr Green speak about the Euro­pean iden­tity and the fu­ture of the EU.

Mr Green was re­spond­ing dur­ing a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion mod­er­ated by Fi­nan­cial Times jour­nal­ist Quentin Peel af­ter his lec­ture when he said Ire­land’s treat­ment by the UK in re­la­tion to Brexit had been “shame­ful”.

When asked if the fear of a fed­eral Euro­pean sys­tem in the fu­ture was the rea­son for the Brexit vote, Mr Green, a for­mer Angli­can priest, said: “I have to say yes, in part at least. There were all sorts of cross cur­rents in that ref­er­en­dum cam­paign. I con­fess to be­ing a pas­sion­ate and un­re­pen­tant Re­mainer, I think the coun­try made a mis­take.

“We are now in a po­si­tion where we have to make the best of that, not only for our­selves. I’m per­fectly con­scious of the im­pact it is hav­ing on the Repub­lic.

“One of the shame­ful things about the ref­er­en­dum is how lit­tle at­ten­tion was paid to ac­tu­ally any­thing out­side of Bri­tain it­self, and as usual Ire­land counted as a sort of af­ter­thought in Bri­tish de­bate. I’m ashamed of that but I’m afraid it is true.”

Mr Green said there were “plenty of lies and plenty of ex­ag­ger­a­tions” in the Yes cam­paign, stok­ing na­tion­al­ist fears that led to a “tragic” re­sult. “If Bri­tain is to chart its course as global Bri­tain, open to the wider world, the trad­ing na­tion that stands for free trade and open mar­kets, then we have to be more open about our past than we have been,” he said.

He was the first of six guest speak­ers run­ning every Thurs­day night un­til Oc­to­ber 19. Next week, chair of the Ir­ish Mus­lim Peace and In­te­gra­tion Coun­cil shaykh Umar Al-Qadri will speak on im­mi­gra­tion and in­te­gra­tion with mod­er­a­tor John O’Bren­nan.

Pro­ceeds from this year’s au­tumn lec­ture se­ries at St Mary’s Cathe­dral will go to­wards restora­tion works on St Munchin’s Church with the aim to open it as a mu­seum.

Tick­ets cost €12 for each event with mem­bers and stu­dent con­ces­sions. They can be pur­chased at eventbrite.ie and will also be on sale on the door. Each event is at 8pm: al­li­son@lim­er­ick­civic­trust.ie or 061 313 399.

Pic­ture: Liam Burke Press 22

Stephen Green, for­mer head of HSBC bank and au­thor of Re­luc­tant Min­is­ter and The Euro­pean Iden­tity, speak­ing in St Mary’s Cathe­dral, Lim­er­ick on Thurs­day evening, said he was ‘ashamed’ of how the UK has treated Ire­land in Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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